Upon the heated lands of the village
Beside the gentle waters,
Flowing from the eyes of Mother Earth.
Her phone rang, abruptly interrupting the silence of the night.
She yawned and wondered who could be calling her this early on her birthday. Before she could reach her phone, the ringing stopped. She turned on the bedside lamp and it shine brightly, revealing the items on the cabinet it stood on – her phone, her wrist watch and her clock.
The time was 4:12am.
The phone rang again.
“Hello, Mama!” a familiar male voice greeted from the other end. It was her son, Nana. Who else will call me this early to wish me a happy birthday.
“Nana, you woke me up! You should be asleep by now shouldn’t you?”
“Yes, mum. But I went partying with a few friends. Before you say anything, we didn’t have any alcohol.
Errrmmmmmmmmmm well not that much.
We just returned to the apartment and I thought I should be the first to wish you a happy birthday.
It’s almost midnight here!”
“Nana! Nana!” she laughed softly.
He started as the Students’ Representative Council [SRC] Public Relations Officer [PRO] to his current position as the lead consultant at Standard PR; a startup public relations and communications consultancy firm on the University of Cape Coast campus.
Standard PR provides public speaking training for start-ups and individuals in the Central Region, with a special attention for startup ventures on UCC campus.
Lactation, or milk production in the breasts, begins about one to three days after a woman gives birth. Pituitary hormones stimulate milk production in response to the stimulation of the infant's suckling the nipples. At this time, based on personal preference, the mother can decide whether she would like to feed her newborn with breast milk or with bottles of store-bought baby formula. The following are some considerations mothers may want to think about when making the decision of how to feed her baby.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding
Positive Emotional Experience
Breastfeeding can be a satisfying experience for the mother. This close physical contact with their babies reduces a mother’s stress level and lowers her risk of postpartum depression. Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, promoting a nurturing and relaxing experience for the mother.1
· Temporarily Inhibited Ovulation
When a woman is breastfeeding, her body ceases to create the hormone necessary for ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary). If an egg is not released, pregnancy cannot happen.2 Women who feed their babies exclusively with breast milk may cease to ovulate for several months. However, breastfeeding alone is not a reliable form of birth control. Breastfeeding, coupled with condoms or another barrier method can increase protection from another pregnancy.
· Nursing Child Receives Antibodies and Immunity-Producing Substances
Newborn babies have very immature immune systems and are less able to fight illness-causing germs. Breast milk is filled with immune molecules, called antibodies, which protect newborns by giving them immunities to many of the germs and illnesses to which the mother has been exposed. Studies have shown that babies who were exclusively breastfed got sick less often than babies who were not. The protection against illness continues even after breastfeeding ends.1
· Cheap, Reliable, and Available Source of Baby Food
A woman's breasts are always with her, so breast milk is a convenient, free source of food for her child. It is easier to utilize a consistent supply of readily available baby food than to run to the store to buy baby formula, bottles, nipples, liners and miscellaneous utensils.
· Supported by Well-Respected Institutions
Joining a long list of organizations, including the World Health Organization and UNICEF, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement that strongly supports breastfeeding. These organizations suggest that babies be breastfed for 6 months. In any case, some breastfeeding is better than none.1
· Intelligent Infants
A child's intelligence and cognitive ability has recently been linked to the length of time the child was breastfed.1 One study, which followed more than 17,000 infants from birth to 6.5 years, concluded from IQ scores and other intelligence tests that exclusive breastfeeding significantly improves cognitive development.1 This may be due to the fact that only 1/3 of the human brain is formed at birth. Humans have evolved for millions of years consuming breast milk.
· Fewer Food Allergies and Food Related Problems
Babies who are fed cow or soymilk-based formulas tend to have more allergies than babies who were exclusively breastfed.1 Babies who are exclusively breastfed also tend to have less allergy-related problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, eczema, gastrointestinal infections and respiratory infections. Breast milk has several different immunoglobulins that help to protect against allergies. One particular immunoglobulin, IgA, is found only in breast milk and prevents allergic reactions by providing a layer of protection in a baby’s intestinal track. By the time babies are 6 to 9 months old, they have begun to produce IgA on their own, but until then, breast milk is the only available source of this substance.
· Low Nutritional Quality of Store-Bought Formula
Store-bought baby formulas may contain whey protein concentrate, soy, coconut, high-oleic safflower oils, lactose, salt, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, soy lecithin, mono and diglycerides, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, and/or folic acid. Whey, one of the main ingredients in almost all formulas, is a waste by-product certain dairy products, particularly cheeses. Palm, coconut and safflower oils are also main ingredients, which are also used in many snack foods (such as movie theatre popcorn) and aren’t easily digested by babies. These are not natural foods, and are harder for the baby’s sensitive digestive system to handle. Breast milk is easily digested in a baby’s stomach, making it the best choice for feeding newborns.
· Reforming the Uterus
Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, a hormone that induces uterine contractions and helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. Breastfeeding may also reduce uterine bleeding after birth. 1
Unlike store-bought formula, human milk is delivered without excess packaging or processing and thus contributes to the health of our planet by avoiding needless waste.
Disadvantages of Breastfeeding and Related Warnings
· Reduced Estrogen/Decreased Sexual Desire
Nursing decreases the amount of estrogen in a woman's body. Estrogen conditions and maintains vulvar tissue and promotes vaginal lubrication, and this decrease may cause nursing mothers to be less interested in sexual activity. If a woman partakes in sexual intercourse her genitals may become sore from this lack of estrogen.
· Negative Emotions About Breastfeeding
Some women may feel uncomfortable about the prospect of nursing, perhaps due to societal views on breasts as sex symbols. In some countries, breastfeeding in public is illegal or socially taboo, which can cause embarrassment for the mother.
· Demands of School or Career
Because babies digest breast milk faster than formula,breastfed babies need to eat more often. This can strain the mother, as she may find it difficult to handle the sole feeding responsibility. This is a particularly relevant issue if a woman returns to school or work shortly after giving birth. However, using a breast pump and storing your milk is a great option if you want your partner or another helper to take over some of the responsibilities of feeding. Furthermore, in many countries, breastfeeding in the workplace is supported.
· Unequal Feeding Responsibilities
Childcare responsibilities are harder to share when an infant is breastfed, since only the birth mother can nurse the baby unless she pumps and stores her breast milk for bottle use. Bottle-feeding formula allows the father, same-sex partner, or adoptive parents to play a greater role in holding, feeding, and bonding with the baby.
· Hormonal Birth Control
Women who decide to breastfeed cannot use hormonal birth control such as the pill, vaginal ring, or shot. Since estrogen-containing birth control reduces the amount of milk, affects milk quality, and can cause newborns to ingest hormones, women who breastfeed must use an alternative form of birth control.
· Cigarettes and Smoke Exposure
Cigarette smoking, as well as environmental (second-hand) smoke, reduces the amount of milk a mother produces. Mothers who are exposed to smoke generally nurse for shorter durations than mothers who live a smokeless lifestyle because their addiction is demanding.
· Breast and Nipple Pain
A woman's breasts may become tender and sore while she is breastfeeding, and some women chose to stop nursing altogether because they find it too painful. Milk may be ejected involuntarily from a woman's nipples during sexual stimulation, which can be a potentially embarrassing or bothersome occurrence.
The important decision of whether or not to breastfeed must be made by the parent(s) prior to or immediately after birth. Both the benefits and disadvantages should be considered before making this choice.
1. "How Breastfeeding Benefits You and Your Baby." BabyCenter. http://www.babycenter.com/0_how-breastfeeding-benefits-you-and-your-baby_8910.bc?page=1
2. "Breastfeeding as Birth Control: Planned Parenthood." Planned Parenthood. http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-info/birth-control/breastfeeding
Ghanaian youth in recent times have raced entrepreneurship to the next level. Students on tertiary campus are pursuing entrepreneurial ventures while pursuing their education. Some of these business ventures include multimedia services [photography and videography], tech startups [all categories of blogging], beauty and make-up, retail of basic student feeding essentials [‘provisions’] and fashion lines [sales of clothes, shoes and bags].
One of such fashion and hand-craft brand making waves on the University of Cape Coast Campus is the ”Africana Market’’.
At the age of eighteen , a gentleman in his second year at the University of Cape Coast [UCC] made a promise to himself to become self-reliant. He earnestly desired to make a living to fund his education and life on campus. The light bulb moment hit him after a conversation with Abigail, a class four pupil who scored fifty-three percent [53%] in her end of term exam.
In that conversation, Abigail attributed her poor performance to the theoretical approach her school teachers adopted in teaching difficult subjects like mathematics and science. Abigail also enumerated the lack of professional assistance during her studies at home; but in Eric’s mind, it was EUREKA!!
“What if I can provide a platform for young pupils like Abigail to achieve high academic laurels while providing a source of income for tutors who will be student employees from of the University of Cape Coast?”, Eric thought to himself.
Plastic is everywhere. Bottled water, grocery bags, shower curtains, garbage cans and kitchen utensils are just a few of the ways plastic has made its way into every aspect of our daily lives. Our throwaway mentality, bred and fed by the mass production of plastics, has created a pollution problem that now threatens the very future of humanity.
The surge in the common misconception about street children in our country is a concern for me personally and CHANGE MAKERS as an organization, most importantly about how we can solve streetism holistically by knowing who they are, where they from, and how they even get onto the streets in the first place. The main purpose for this write up is to begin deepening the awareness in the public and to launch a National Campaign dubbed “GET THE CHILDREN OFF THE STREET CAMPAIGN” so as to find lasting solutions to addressing this national issue that confronts us as a nation.
The thought of asking someone out can be one of the most terrifying things during puberty, high school, and even college. You may have never talked to the opposite gender much and are just now starting to develop sexual feelings for them. Asking someone out can become a big ordeal because you begin to ask yourself questions such as “Will they say yes?” or “What will other people think if they say no?” or “How do I even get the courage to go up and ask them in the first place?” Don’t panic; the following will guide you through on what to do and how to do it.
Preparing to Ask Someone Out
Having feelings for someone or having the urge to want to be with them sexually is one of the most natural things people go through, especially being in high school. The transition to high school can be a big change and can come with a lot of pressure. You are put into a whole new environment with a lot of people that you have never even seen before. After realizing this, you begin to make first impressions on others while at the same time knowing that others are making first impressions of you. You can start to become self-conscious about what others think of you which can make asking someone out even more nerve-racking. One of the key things to remember is to be confident. Understandably, it can be hard to stay confident at all times but remember to tell yourself “Who cares what other people think?” You need to be able to not worry about what other people think of you as long as you are happy because that is what is most important.
When someone catches your eye and you realize that you want to get to know them better, and possibly even go on a date, how to go about it is hard to figure out. First, you need to think about whether this person knows you at all. If you both know each other a little already, it can be a bit easier because you already have things in common. If you do not, don’t panic. If you do not know them, you have to make sure to introduce yourself when you first approach them. Try to think of something you have in common. It can be anything from wearing the same brand of clothing, having a class together, or having a mutual friend. If you cannot think of anything you have in common, a good idea is to think of an ice breaker. A compliment is a good ice breaker. A compliment is a pretty casual way to approach a stranger that will put them in a better mood because you are already telling them that you like something about them. You might say “Hey, I really like that scarf (can be anything)” and most likely they will say thanks and at that moment you can say “Yeah of course no problem but by the way I don’t think we have met before…my name is” and hopefully you can start a conversation whether it’s brief or lasts awhile. It is always good to have an idea of what you are going to say when preparing to ask someone out.
Another important part of preparing to ask someone out is to remember to be respectful at all times. Whenever approaching somebody, you never want them to feel pressured or in an uncomfortable situation. The situation can definitely be awkward in a sense, but if you can clearly tell that this person wants to get out of the situation after approaching them, respect that.
Asking Them Out
After preparing yourself to ask someone out, you must figure out when to approach them. It is best to approach a person when they are alone. If that person is alone, you don’t have to worry about them acting differently around their friends or talking to anyone else. If they are in a group, your behavior might be perceived as weird for ‘seeking’ them out per say especially if the two of you have never spoken before. A good idea is to try and figure out where their locker is. A good time to approach them is at the end of the day when everyone is going to their lockers and grabbing stuff that they need to take home. After figuring out what to say, when to say it, and where to say it, you are now ready to make a move.
Remember to be confident, respectful, and natural. Being confident can be one of the hardest things. I remember when I was in high school and about to go ask someone out, I would get so nervous and end up not going for it. After doing that a few times, I would remember the quote from a famous hockey player Wayne Gretzky “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.” That quote has stuck with me throughout the years and I always think back to it when I get really nervous about asking someone out. Whenever you get too nervous, just think back to this quote and hopefully you will gain the courage to go up to this person and ask them out. Furthermore, always make sure you are being respectful – of yourself and of the other person. If the other person clearly wants nothing to do with you and makes you feel bad about yourself, get out of that situation because you do not deserve to be treated that way. On the other hand, make sure you are being respectful of the person you are trying to ask out. Make sure they are comfortable and okay with talking to someone they have never met before. Making sure respect is being portrayed on both sides gives you a better chance of them saying yes to going out with you. Lastly, be yourself. Being yourself is one of the most important things when meeting someone for the first time. Of course it can be overwhelming and nerve-racking, but being yourself will set you apart from everyone else. It allows the other person to truly see who you are, even if it is only a minute-long conversation. The more natural you can be, the better off you are.
It is all over; you can now take a step back as well as a deep breath. If they said yes, awesome! You know that you were confident and natural. The next step is to, if you got a phone number, text them and make plans if you haven’t already. If you didn’t get a number, that’s totally fine just make sure to talk to them again in person as soon as you can to let them know you really are interested. If they said no or seemed to be uninterested, do not get down on yourself! That is the most important thing when getting turned away; do not put yourself down. You learn from every experience and make the next one better. Maybe you seemed nervous and couldn’t hold a conversation that well. That’s okay because you can look back at that experience and learn from your mistakes so the next time you decide to ask someone out, it will go better. Maybe they simply just weren’t interested in you. In that case, there was simply nothing you could have done. When that happens to me, I believe it is just not meant to be. There are plenty of other people out there and this person just couldn’t see how amazing you are – it happens to everyone. As I said before, asking someone out can be a difficult task with questions constantly racing through your head. Whether the person says yes or no, at the end of the day you must remember that with every chance you take, you develop skills that will help you out the next time you attempt to ask someone out. Confidence is key, and remember that anybody would be lucky to go out with you!
What is “The Talk?”
The phrase “the talk” is used to refer to the conversation many parents have with their child or children about sex and sexuality, although it can (and ideally should) be more of an ongoing discussion rather than a single conversation. Topics covered during “the talk” can include information about what sex is, what risks and consequences can be associated with sex, why people have sex, how people make decisions regarding whether or when to have sex, and/or ways of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Oftentimes, parents are interested in talking to their children and teens about sex. However, they do not know how to and feel uncomfortable or awkward starting the conversation. Sex plays a role in the lives of nearly all people; everyone will likely be exposed to or experience sex in some capacity. Thus, it is understandable that many parents want to educate their children and teach them accurate and helpful information about sex. These parents want their children to make safe, healthy, and informed personal decisions about sex as they grow up.
Before parents talk to their child about sex, it is important that they are aware of the multiple other sources that expose children to information about sex. There is no guarantee that the information that they hear will be accurate. Following are a few of these sources from which sexual knowledge may be acquired.
Sources of Sexual Knowledge
In today’s society, where people are constantly exposed to the media, children and teens are being bombarded with sexual images and sexual content in magazines, television, the radio, and movies. Media messages from TV are oftentimes a child's first introduction to sex.1 Instead of learning the importance of values and responsibilities surrounding about sex, many teens receive mixed messages from highly sexualized and romanticized characters portrayed in the media.
A quick fix many parents resort to is censoring the media content that their children are exposed to. However, instead of merely censoring the media content, it is important to talk to children and teens about what they are seeing. After all, even with the most advanced censoring technologies, media is nearly impossible to block out completely. One way to open up discourse between parent and child is for the parent to join their child while they are watching television, and discuss with them some of the sexual stereotypes presented in shows or movies. Similarly, the parent should point out specific advertisements and ask their child what messages they think the ads are conveying.
Media is not limited to television. The internet is increasingly becoming a significant source of entertainment and information we consume every day. Sexualized internet ads, online articles, public photos and videos, and pornographic websites all expose viewers to sex. In addition, video games can often have sexual themes. Parents can use the internet to help them discuss sex with their child. There are multiple online resources that can help teach children about their sexuality. Parents can decide to direct their children to such a website. Parents can even sit down at the computer with their child and browse sex education websites together.
One type of online media source that many children and teens (primarily adolescent boys) may consume is pornography. It is important that children understand that viewing pornography is a normal habit, and that they do not need to be ashamed of it. However, parents should discuss with their child that pornography may create certain expectations about sex that are unrealistic, especially when it comes to the appearance, desires, and behavior of women. Emotional intimacy, although severely lacking in most x-rated productions, is a huge part of sex. Finally, parents should remind their child that although sexuality may be a new part of their life which worth exploring, they should resist getting carried away. Children should activities like excessive masturbation, and they should continue to cultivate other productive activities, such as sports, clubs, and friendships.
A main source of sex information for children and teens is talking with friends and peers. However, peers often give incorrect information regarding sexuality. Sexual conversations among adolescents and teens are more likely to be centered around sexual conquests and how-to tips. These conversations may also involve teasing or passing judgments about perceived sexual behaviors or attitudes, and can lead to name-calling or more serious negative behaviors.
Not all schools have a sexual education curriculum, and if they do they often do not provide a comprehensive course. School sex educators tend to only present the health and clinical information regarding sex, and generally do not talk about the emotional issues. Teens have reported that the information they learn in school is not realistic or helpful.2 Few schools provide guidance about relationship issues and communicating sexual desires.
Having “The Talk”
For various reasons, many parents are hesitant to talk with their children about sex with their children. Some parents feel uncomfortable discussing sex with their children, while others think that talking to their children about sex is unnecessary. It is extremely important, however, for parents to realize that their children will almost certainly be exposed to information and often to misinformation about sex from other sources. Thus, parents should prepare their children to understand what sex is, the potential consequences of having sex, and how to make safe decisions about sex.
Rather than having one uncomfortable conversation about sex, a more effective way to communicate with children about sex is for parents to take advantage of multiple opportunities. Additionally, all conversations should be conducted in an open and honest manner. Learning about sex from their parents is the best way for teens and children to receive guidance and emotional support. You can help your children learn facts as well as personal and social responsibility. Children whose parents talked to them about sexuality were most likely to postpone sexual activity and not engage in risky behavior.3 It is OK if you feel uneasy about the subject - your child probably does too! The important issue is that you provide your child with the skills to make wise decisions about his or her own sexuality and have healthy, loving and responsible relationships.
Talking to Your Child About the Media and Pornography
Censoring internet access and television programs is a common strategy used by parents to limit the exposure their children have to sex in the media. However, it is nearly impossible that a parent restricts all access to sex-related material because it is so common in today’s media. Thus, parents should instead open up conversation with their children and join them while they watch television to discuss the sexual stereotypes encountered in the show
When discussing sex with children, parents should keep the following in mind:
Parents may feel uncomfortable using terminology such as "vagina" and “penis”. A good way to overcome the discomfort is to say these terms in private several times.
Plan on Having an Ongoing, Open Discussion with Your Child
Although it is important to start teaching children about sexuality when they are young, it is equally important to continue the education as the child gets older. Sexuality will remain a factor throughout a person’s life. Thus, it is impossible to cover all useful information in one conversation. For this reason, parents should remain approachable as a resource. Children should not feel ashamed to ask questions about sex, but instead should feel comfortable instigating discussions about sex. Once open communication is established, parents can continue educating their children about sex. Parents can use “teachable moments” to engage in conversation with their children. A "teachable moment" can take place, for example, when you see a pregnant woman on the street, or when children hear about sexual incidents on the news. Such moments provide easy transitions into conversations about sex.
Give accurate information
When parents decide to have a talk with their children, it is important that they know the facts. Accurate information about sex can be easily found. Certain sites on the Internet (such as this one), textbooks, and children's books in libraries and bookstores are good examples. If a parent is ever asked a question that they do not know the answer to, they should do the proper research. To help answer their child’s questions, parent can opt to give their child an educational book. One helpful book that is appropriate for ages 8-11 is Asking about Sex and Growing Up: A Question and Answer Book for Boys and Girls by Joanna Cole. Another set of books that are appropriate for preteens are Lynda and Area Maderas’s book series called What's Happening to My Body?, which come in separate versions for boys and girls.
Anticipate the Next Stage of Development
Educating young girls about menstruation or young boys about nocturnal emissions after she or he has experienced it is not the most helpful. Instead, parents should talk to their child about the stages of puberty and other sexual experiences before he or she reaches the stage. Children will feel less anxious about what may be happening to their body when they know what to expect.
Do Not Lecture
Children and teens do not want to be told what to do, especially when it comes to personal topics such as sex. It is important that parents do not lecture their children, but instead try to present information and have an open discussion about sex. Adolescents will make their own decisions regarding sex and it is up to the parent to give them the information and resources needed to make informed decisions. Discussions and conversations benefit children more than lectures, because they are more likely to listen to you and your words.
Teach the Joys of Sex as Well as the Dangers
Sex can be a fulfilling and meaningful part of life. When children learn about the consequences of having sex, they should also be exposed to the joys of sex. While it is sometimes treated as dangerous or scary, in reality sex is often beautiful and natural. All children should be equipped with a comprehensive knowledge of sex and sexuality so they can make informed decisions on what role these factors will play in their lives. Talking about intimacy and relationships with children can help them grow up to have positive relationships in their lives.3
There is no one way to teach children about sex. For parents, the idea of bringing up this topic can be uncomfortable or awkward. However, it is essential for adolescents to learn from their parents about sex. Sex is a core part of human nature and is something most, if not all, people will explore in their lifetime. With the vast amounts of information on sex, children are likely to be exposed to misinformation. Thus, parents should reach out to their children early, before the rest of the world does. Educating early and comprehensively will give children the best chance to have a safe, fulfilling, and healthy relationship with sex as they grow up.
1. Levine, J. Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex. (2002). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
2. Measor, L., Tiffin, C., & Miller, K. Young People's Views on Sex Education: Education, Attitudes and Behaviour. (2000). New York:Routledge Falmer.
3. Miracle, T. M., Miracle, A. W., & Baumeister R. F. Human Sexuality: Meeting Your Basic Needs. (2003). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall
The National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) has observed with worry, the continuous upsurge of road traffic crashes and casualties during festivities like Easter.
Available statistics on road traffic crashes indicate that the first quarter of 2017, a total number of 296 crashes was recorded leading to 66 deaths and 456 injuries.